Summers in the south of France are hot, dry and sunny. Late spring and early autumn are less hot but usually still very pleasant, and typically warm enough to spend your vacation evenings eating outside.

There are important regional variations in the weather across southern France: although most of the south of France has a mild – warm climate, there are very different characteristics to the weather in the east and west of the region.

Weather in south-east France and the Mediterranean

Weather in January

  • Typical minimum daily temperature 5° centigrade, maximum 13°
  • Seven days with rain in January
  • 160 hours of sunshine

Weather in February

  • Typical minimum daily temperature 6° centigrade, maximum 13°
  • Six days with rain in February
  • 180 hours of sunshine

Weather in March

  • Typical minimum daily temperature 8° centigrade, maximum 15°
  • Five days with rain in March
  • 220 hours of sunshine

Weather in April

  • Typical minimum daily temperature 10° centigrade, maximum 17°
  • Seven days with rain in April
  • 210 hours of sunshine

Weather in May

  • Typical minimum daily temperature 13° centigrade, maximum 20°
  • Five days with rain in May
  • 260 hours of sunshine

Weather in June

  • Typical minimum daily temperature 17° centigrade, maximum 24°
  • Four days with rain in June
  • 290 hours of sunshine

Weather in July

  • Typical minimum daily temperature 20° centigrade, maximum 27°
  • Two days with rain in July
  • 330 hours of sunshine

Weather in August

  • Typical minimum daily temperature 20° centigrade, maximum 27°
  • Three days with rain in August
  • 310 hours of sunshine

Weather in September

  • Typical minimum daily temperature 17° centigrade, maximum 24°
  • Four days with rain in September
  • 240 hours of sunshine

Weather in October

  • Typical minimum daily temperature 13° centigrade, maximum 21°
  • Seven days with rain in October (this is the month with the most rain in this region of the south of France)
  • 170 hours of sunshine

Weather in November

  • Typical minimum daily temperature 9° centigrade, maximum 16°
  • Seven days with rain in November
  • 150 hours of sunshine

Weather in December

  • Typical minimum daily temperature 6° centigrade, maximum 14°
  • Six days with rain in December
  • 140 hours of sunshine

 

From October to April the weather along the French Riviera is a lot more variable. There are plenty of days that are warm, dry and very pleasant but equally there is a much higher chance of rain and cold. Warm clothes are necessary!

Of course, average temperatures and weather figures hide a great deal of what the weather is really like! Pay attention to the average ‘sunshine hours’ figures – 18° on a sunny day in March will feel much warmer than the same temperature on a wet day in April, and sunshine always makes people feel happy even if it’s not very warm. So hours of sunshine is as important as absolute temperature...

 
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Weather in south-west France and the Atlantic Coast

This region tends to have generally mild winters and warm-hot summers. However exceptions to the rule are not uncommon – winters can have very cold spells, and even in the height of summer it is possible to have cooler wetter weather from time to time.

The Atlantic Coast (Biarritz) typically has temperatures very slightly lower than the Riviera, but does tend to have significantly less hours of sunshine (typically 20% less than the figures above). The more northern part of the Atlantic Coast in south-west France at La Rochelle gets more hours of sun than Biarritz (say, 10% less than the Riviera) but temperatures tend to be lower than both the Riviera and the southern Atlantic Coast.

The weather in the Dordogne and Midi-Pyrenees is closer to that of the Atlantic Coast than that of the Riviera (i.e. it does not have a Mediterranean climate). Winters can have short periods when it is very cold (below freezing, sometimes even -10°) and weeks when there is rather a lot of rain, although there are still plenty of bright sunny weeks.

The Pyrenees themselves also have altitude considerations of course – being mountains there is more frequent rain, snow in winter, and much lower average maximum temperatures than along the coast.

Although summers tend to be dry, all year round the region gets more rain than south-east France, being brought in from the Atlantic ocean. This explains why the region produces fruit so effectively – the combination of warm yet occasionally damp weather is ideal for producing many crops.

Thunderstorms are also common here during the summer though less often than in the eastern part of the region.